You will recognise, dear readers, the feeling of staying in a hotel, waking up the next morning and for a split second not knowing where you are.
My whole day this early summer Thursday could be described as much.
I got up on the same side of bed that I usually do, so that can be ruled out straight away. Likewise I don’t think it was the people around me. All occurrences of PMT in my life are efficiently synched. I always get a head’s up from the office staff; the Finance Officer and my P.A. will be first, and they will warn me either in person or with a knife embedded in my desk during heavy months. Therefore, I know I can expect the same at home a day later.
No message. No knife. Not even discarded chocolate wrappers scattered on the Finance Officer’s desk. So, it can’t be that either.
It is probably me, I realise. I am just in a bad mood. I am tired and still frustrated from last week’s visit by Her Majesty’s inspectorate. My gut hurts as I await for the call from the hospital to attend to the hole in my digestive tract. I can physically feel my biorhythm crash around 1.30pm. I want a nap. A power nap; a Gordon Gekko sort of nap.
It is 2pm by the time I realise what is bothering me: I have been turned out of my office for the next two days due to a shortage of meeting space. For the next two working days I am based in the Assistant Head’s office. I have woken up in the equivalent of an occupational hotel. I can’t recognise my surroundings.
The Assistant Head and I were, ironically, born on the same day of the same month of the same year. Technically, she is 4 hours older than me. That is where the similarities end.
My office has few items which make it personalised, but the items have travelled with me from school to school.
My Personalised Office Items:
- Photo of Bobby Moore exchanging shirts with Pele at the 1970 World Cup
- Photo of school football team which won championship during my first headship
- Photo of me with a school group in Moscow’s Red Square
- Photo of me shaking hands with Sir Geoff Hurst
- Photo of me playing American football in high school
- New Jersey license plate
- ‘Keep Calm, Don’t Panic’ sign
- Bobbing Head Obama
I look around the alien office landscape; my temporary accommodation. Nothing is familiar. Usually change intrigues me. This just makes me acerbic.
This temporary professional space is distinctly feminine. It is pink and fluffy. The tables are covered in material. Yes, table covers.
I look around the room; there are flowers everywhere. Flower stickers on the windows, flower characters with smiley faces mocking me from the shelf. Flower prints on the table covers.
And what are not flowers, are owls. Owls. Why do so many women find a need to collect one type of animal? For some it is frogs, for others it is bears. But I have taken a wrong turn and ended up in Owl Hell.
The coffee cups are clean and pristine (and have a flower AND owl motif- bet that was a find). But there is no coffee. I rummage around in search of caffeine but find only something called Raspberry and Pomegranate tea. The box proudly proclaims it is caffeine free. Why? I try it anyhow but it tastes of bath water. I drink it from a Little Miss Sunshine cup.
The only tenuous sporting link I can find is a picture of David Beckham with his shirt off. He is smouldering, yes smouldering at me. If Beckham takes his shirt off I want it to be because he has just hit a curling free kick for England and is celebrating by jumping into the crowd, not because I want to whack Posh Spice so I can have her side of the bed. With the mood I’m in I would probably get out on the wrong side anyhow.
I bang my head on a set of wind chimes hanging by the window. I am sure I have truly screwed up the Feng Shui in the place now. A Mr Happy statuette is grinning at me, mocking me like the cartoon flowers.
My PA enters and asks me a question; a member of the school staff standing right behind her. I look puzzled as she is talking about the colleague in the third person but she is right there. She tells me she is scared to ask me herself.
“I tried to tell her you are a pussy cat”
Well half right.
A Prefect brings me this week’s House Points total. I notice that by the slimmest of margins, Seymour House have won again. Six weeks in a row now. I ask her which house she belongs to: she answers ‘Seymour’. I ask her if she has ever been to Florida and/or knows what a chad is.
A parent rings me to tell me that she has reported the breakfast club has been dismissed early twice now- next time she will not ring me but go straight over my head. I snap. I am too old and too big to be threatened. I go all passive aggressive: “Have you got a pen? Here is the number of the local government department in charge of schools. Shall I put you through? “
The school nurse comes in. After my experience this week, nurses make me nervous. I sit down.
I want my things. Familiar things. Masculine things. Boy things. I want to smoke a cigar and read Hemingway. I want to have a farting contest.
I want my glass box, not this pink, fluffy tomb.
Mr Happy beams at me with an idiot’s grin. His arms flung wide as if running to hug me. Fuck you Mr Happy. And fuck Little Miss Sunshine as well.
I need a holiday.
I need some pain killers.
I need to know if men get PMT too.
I need a new Mr Men character: Mr Caustic.
Keep the Faith,